4A soccer semifinals: Bonneville plays its possession game to get past Woods Cross
DRAPER — The Bonneville Lakers took just five minutes before taking the lead in their 4A semifinal soccer victory over Woods Cross on Tuesday afternoon.
The Wildcats scored a quick equalizer, but Sienna Thornock and her two goals were too much for Woods Cross as the Lakers posted a 3-1 win in the state tournament game at Juan Diego Tuesday afternoon.
"That first goal, that was pretty quick, just five minutes in," Bonneville coach Rob McDaniel said of Thornock's rebound off the crossbar in the 5th minute. "But unfortunately, it didn't hold; that was the frustrating part.
"They got the one on their set piece," McDaniel continued. "It's nice to score that quick, but for them to come back that quick and score a goal, that put it back at zeroes. It's like starting over again seven minutes into the game."
"It was kind of a surprise goal," the coach said. "It was a great shot off a set piece that kind of caught us off guard. After our first goal, I thought 'OK, we got this,' and they do that and it puts them right back into the fight."
The Lakers regained the lead when senior midfielder Lexie Stratford scored from the top of the box in the 15th minute, but the Wildcats would not go away.
"Toward the end of the first half, they really took us out of our game. We didn't possess the ball well like we normally do," McDaniel said. "We just needed to settle down and keep playing good soccer like we know how to do."
Bonneville heard their coach's message and got back to work in the second half. The controlled possession and extended their lead as the game continued.
Thornock got her brace in the 53rd minute. The ball smacked senior Madeline Jensen in the face, and when it bounced off, Thornock sent it into the back corner of the net.
"This year she has really focused on placing the ball in the corners — the second shot, holy cow!" McDaniel said. "That was straight across the goal mouth into the opposite corner."
McDaniel knew his team was strong enough to win the semifinal match, but playing against the Wildcats made him uneasy.
"The girls were expecting to win; they were hoping to win," he said. "We knew we could do it. But then, you always have that little gut feeling 'What if?' Coming in with a team like Woods Cross, they have a great program; they've done great this year. We were stressed coming in against them big time."
With the win, the Lakers are headed to the 4A championship game on Friday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"Each step it's got to get tougher," he added. "That's why we're here."